The United States District Court for the Northern District of Illinois ruled today that it is unconstitutional for Chicago to treat people with non-violent misdemeanor convictions the same as convicted felons. The NRA-supported case, Gowder v. Chicago, involves plaintiff Shawn Gowder, who was convicted as a first-time offender for mere possession of a firearm in violation of Illinois law in 1995. His misdemeanor record did not block him from getting a state Firearm Owner’s Identification card, so he could still legally possess a gun in Illinois.

Nonetheless, when Mr. Gowder, who lives in a high crime area of Chicago, began the process to legally acquire a handgun to keep in his home for self-defense (a process required following the McDonald decision), the Chicago police denied his application. Mr. Gowder sued the city, maintaining that Chicago’s law banning non-violent misdemeanants from possessing guns in their homes for self-defense is unconstitutionally vague, and that it violates the Second Amendment.

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